Saturday, March 31, 2018

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom 543 - 6 - 3

Proverbs 9:10, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” This is not fear in the usual sense rather it is having a right relationship with God, of being absolutely in awe of God, holding him in complete respect and being obedient to His will.  
As for the fear of God being measurable, Proverbs 9:11, For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you.” I’ve passed the Biblical three score and 10 and given my present state of health, I’ll live many more years.
However, Proverbs 9:12, “If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, And if you scoff, you will bear it alone.” It is to my advantage to be wise, however, if I chose to scoff, my bad and I will bear it alone.
Psalm 111:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” Holding the Lord in reverence is a start towards wisdom. Obedience brings more light from God, another measurement.
Proverbs is rich with admonitions. Proverbs 2:5, “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”
There are many verses in the book of Proverbs that refer to the fear of the Lord including 2:5, 3:7, 9:10, 10:27, 14:26 and more.
Job 28:28, “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”
From an earlier post, “Yes, our God is a consuming fire. He was the fire in the burning brush, the pillar of fire that kept the Egyptians at bay while the chosen people crossed the Red Sea parted by His breath, whose finger burnt the 10 Commandments into stone, was and is the Shekinah Glory that filled the temple, and so much more. God gives Job a lesson in the awesomeness of the Almighty’s power Starting in chapter 38.”
The justice of our righteous God often results in judgment. Ultimately, all will be judged; some at the Bema Seat judgment and some of the White throne judgment. Philippians 2:10, "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth." Therein lies the final measurement. As for me, I’m a work in progress.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Hold that wagging tongue! 543 - 5 - 6

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never break me” is a response to an insult, an equivalency to "You might be able to hurt me by physical force but not by insults.” Sadly, there are school-age children where insults (bulling) is so extreme that they commit suicide. In today's electronic environment there is Cyberbullying; the Internet is an extension of the tongue. According to the American Association of Suicidology, AAS Suicide rates among 10 to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades.
James 3:5-6, “5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”
This seems to fit with Proverbs 26:21, “As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.” When responding to someone on Facebook I work at controlling my tongue as well as my fingers, an extension of my tongue. Using children in an agenda to disparage the Second Amendment is a hot topic and both sides are well dug in. It takes two to argue to be “Coals to burning coals” so sometimes it's better to let someone just argue by himself.
James 1:19, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:" and again in James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue (G1100), but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain." And yet again in James 3:8, "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison."
 G1100, tongue, Of uncertain affinity; the tongue; by implication a language (specifically one naturally unacquired): - tongue.
Through his severe trials David knew the potential destructiveness of the tongue and was determined not to rebel or complain against the Lord around unbelievers and be an obstacle to them coming to faith.
Psalm 39:1-2, “1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue (H3956): I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. 2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.”
Tongue, H3956, skipping eating and licking, to wag the tongue, that is, to calumniate (make false and defamatory statements about); accuse, slander.
Proverbs 6:16, “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him,” included is a lying tongue. “A lying tongue,” one only needs to check the media. Isaiah 5:20, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Quiet time with the Lord 543 - 5 - 2

I pray often on and off all day but my quiet time with the Lord usually is in the morning when I first wake up or as I go to bed. It usually takes me a while to fall asleep, so this is quiet time with the Lord. While asleep I listen to an audio Bible, CM's teachings or praise and worship music.
Winters I live in an RV park in Arizona with nearby neighbors. I cover my windows to minimize the heating of my RV, rather like living in a tunnel. A few times a week I'll take a nap in my bed at the back of my RV/ tunnel. This is a great time to reflect what has happened and what's going to be on the agenda for the rest of the day. Again, I often play praise and worship music and fall asleep thinking about how blessed I am.
My RV site is very small, but it backs up to state land, so I am further blessed to have a fairly private area where I have a lawn chair and a small table. I'll retreat to this backyard and read or listen to music. As I stretch out on my outdoor recliner, I gaze at the canopy of the tree that offers shade on a warm day. Here in Arizona we've already had days in the 80s, so the backyard is a great retreat.
Summers I live in a much cooler part of Arizona about 90 miles from the four corners area. I have 5 plus acres of high desert dirt with scrub pine. The area is quite remote and very peaceful. I don't have curtains on my bedroom windows because there's no one close by. I wake up to the Cedar tree outside my window and again marvel at God's creations. At night I fall asleep looking at the glories of the heavens. I have two decks one of which is a small deck under a tree. Here I make time to have quiet time with God.
My summer home is off the power grid and I rely one hundred percent on solar energy. It's taken three summers but I have sufficient power to run a electric refrigerator, to augment my smaller propane refrigerator, plus all my electronics. Often at night I wake up to the howling of coyotes and the occasional cow that wanders by in this open range area. I feel closer to God’s creation when I'm at my summer home but I'm not ready to spend winters there until I work out the water situation. Hauling water in the summer is no big deal but when the storage tank ices over it is.
 Whether in my summer or winter home I always feel close to God. Living alone I can pretty much have quiet time anytime. Life is good. God is good.

The parable of the Mustard's church 529-1 9 - 6

Matthew 13:31-32, “31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32  Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”
Here Jesus equates the kingdom to the tiny mustard seed which when it grew into a tree, and birds would nest in its branches. The early church was small and persecuted and kept its purity, the Church in Smyrna.
With time, the church lost much of its purity as it “married” the state resulting in great but abnormal growth, becoming the Church in Pergamum.  Then the birds came and roosted in it. Matthew 13:4, “And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up.” Mark uses the specific word Satan and Luke, the Devil. Here "birds of the air" are demons. The implication, the kingdom became a nesting place for Satan and his agents.
In Ephesians 2:2 Paul speaks of "The prince of the power of the air." Appropriate description considering what is broadcast through the air. The eye is Satan's portal, little wonder porn is so prevalent on the Internet. For the most part, television airs immoral behavior, propaganda and denigrates Christians and Christianity. Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Apt description of the mainstream talk hosts.
Jesus was looking down the corridors of time as He forewarned the disciples that during His absence the kingdom would experience a phenomenal growth but not an equivalency to success and growth in the Word. It would become a “The habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.”
Jesus followed with Matthew 13:33, “Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” 
Tying these together, leaven means corruption and is a Biblical symbol of evil. The mustard seed parable pictures an abnormal growth of the church. The tree in Daniel 4:20-22 represented King Nebuchadnezzar who had grown mightily. In his pride he would be cut down, but a stump was left. A type of the mega churches of today?
The woman who hide the three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened likely is a false prophetess, Revelation 2:20, “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” Is this the Church in Thyatira?
Revelation 17:4, “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:” This has the ring of the regalia found in the Roman Catholic Church.
Revelation 17:5, “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth. The Roman Catholic Church has shed the blood of Christian martyrs down through the centuries. The woman is pictured as drunk with their blood. In the last century, the Vatican signed a concordat with Hitler purported to guarantee religious freedom for Catholics. Although there has been redaction of church history, to the best of my knowledge Hitler was never excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.
Superficially Mystery Babylon sounds like the Roman Catholic Church alone, however, she is the mother of harlots. The Catholic Church has over billion adherents but there are many people caught up in the watered-down prosperity message, the Church in Laodicea.
There have been many changes in worship during the nearly 2000 year church age. No longer are we like the early churches in Ephesus or Smyrnah. We are now the church of Laodicea. Revival is needed, nevertheless, I rather expect that the decline in Bible grounded churches will continue and if one wants to really seek the Word of God, it will be within small groups.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Faith comes in many forms 543 - 4 - 3

CM lists Three kinds of faith:
1. Dead faith
James 2:17-18, “17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” James is describing the man who has nothing but a profession of faith. He says he has faith, but there is nothing about his life that demonstrates it, no resulting fruits.
2. Demonic faith
James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” Demons believe in the existence of God, have a sense of time, and fear their eventual punishment/ destination as evidenced in Matthew 8:29.
3. Dynamic faith
According to CM, Dynamic faith involves the whole person: the intellect, the emotions, and the will.
On the road to Damascus, Saul had a vision of Jesus and shortly thereafter became an apostle. Not only had he seen the risen Christ, but it has been suggested that he spent three years in the Arabian Desert being tutored by Jesus. Whether a brief vision or a three-year discipleship, Paul became a tenacious warrior and witness for the risen Jesus.
Paul often spoke about justification (salvation) as a gift through faith, nothing that we do adds to it. Next comes sanctification (inheritance). I’m a pro-active work in progress relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit working to overcome sin on the road to sanctification.”
4. A lapse of faith
Abraham had a lapse in faith that God would provide a son of promise through Sarah. Abraham had a son born of Hager, Sarah’s handmaid. Ishmael was born while Hager sat on Sarah’s lap, as was the custom with a barren woman. Ishmael would be Abraham’s son but not the son of promise, rather the son of the flesh. The result of the birth of the son of flesh is seen on the nightly news.
5. Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Abraham was willing to obey God and offer his son Isaac, James 2:21-22, “21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22, Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?”
6. Falling away faith
Luke 18:7-8, “7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Good question in these the days of the Church of the Laodiceans. Unless there is a great revival I fear that there will be very little faith on earth when the Son of Man comes.
6. Faith through trials
Perhaps the time between suffering persecution and God avenging his own elect is a trial of one’s faith.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit? What is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? 529-1 - 8 - 4

John 16:7, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter (G3875) will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
Strong’s G3875, An intercessor, consoler: - advocate, comforter.
"Therefore, the Holy Spirit is designated by Jesus Christ as equal with Himself, i.e., God This New Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, was to witness concerning Jesus Christ and to glorify Him. The Holy Spirit is called a Paraclete because He undertakes Christ's office in the world while Christ is not in the world as the God-Man in bodily form. In addition, the Holy Spirit is also called the Paraclete because He acts as Christ's substitute on earth."
[Thayer's Greek Definition]
Paraclete, the Holy Spirit as advocate or counselor
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Old Testament saints was selective and temporary, empowering them when needed for service but not remaining with them. Now we believers have an indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a permanent residence, convicting us of sin, providing regeneration, and repeated empowerment.
The Holy Spirit is and always will be indwelling us. We have this further assurance from 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
We are never to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. Mark 3:28-29, “28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:”
Here Temple leaders committed the unpardonable sin by accusing Jesus of casting out demons by demonic power when it was through the power of the Holy Spirit. This had the effect of calling the Holy Spirit a demon. All kinds of sins can be forgiven but not the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, this is an eternal sin. Not only did the Temple leaders blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, they brought about the crucifixion of Jesus.
Earlier when Jesus left the temple, it was reminiscent of the Shekinah glory as it departed the temple in Ezekiel’s time.
As an aside, there is a difference between lying to the Holy Spirit and blaspheming it. Ananias and Sapphira sold their property and claimed to have given the full amount to the community of the early church. This was a lie as they had held back a portion of the price they had received for the property. While holding back the money was not a sin lying about it was. Both Ananias and Sapphira fell dead at Peter’s feet. Their lie was to the Holy Spirit; however, they did not commit blasphemy. God took them, so they could sin no more.
As believers we are permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit, a gift not to be taken lightly. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the one unpardonable sin. Sadly, it seems to be fashionable today with many. To do so is to risk eternal damnation.

A list of the "Faithful" persons of Hebrews 11 and the demonstration of that faith 543 - 4 - 5

Hebrew 11:1-3, “1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
The list of faithful persons in Hebrews 11 include Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sara, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David also, Samuel and the prophets. A few examples of their demonstration of faith.
Hebrew 11:4, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Cain offered God the works of his hands as a farmer while Abel offered the blood of a lamb. Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable to God and Cain’s was not. While Leviticus has a provision for offering grains as a sacrifice, Cain’s offering was not in accordance with it.
Genesis 5:21-24, "And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." Although Enoch pleased God, few of his descendants survived the flood, only Noah his three sons.
For 120 years Noah follow the dictates of God and built the ark. One can only imagine the ridicule he and his family endured building an Ark in a dry climate that had never known rain.
God appeared to Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia and said, “Leave your country and your people, and go to the land I will show you.” Abraham settled in Harran and stayed there until after his father died and then obeyed God commend to “go to the land I will show you.”
When God told Abraham to take his only son and sacrifice him he did not hesitate. Abraham Left the next day to fulfill God’s command. This was not the moral equivalency to the sacrificing of children to pagan gods. Abraham knew that Isaac was the son of promise and through him he would be the father of nations.
Hebrew 11:11, “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” Although Sarah laughed at the prophecy she would have a son in an another year, she still was rewarded with the child of promise.
Hebrew 11:26, “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” Moses fled Egypt and discovered God in the wilderness. Through faith, he led God's people out of Egypt and to the edge of the promised land.
The Prophets, Hebrew 11:36-38, “36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”
Paul end this chapter with a promise to us, the Holy Spirit? Hebrew 11:39, “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Parable of the Sower 529-1 - 9 - 1

In Matthew Chapter 12 we learn that the Temple leaders committed the unpardonable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit by attributing Jesus’ miracles to Satan. Matthew 12:24, “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.”
After this, Jesus spoke in parables. A parable according to Strong’s H4912 is “in some original sense of superiority in mental action; properly a pithy maxim, usually of a metaphorical nature; hence a simile (as an adage, poem, discourse): - byword, like, parable, proverb.”
The disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in parables. Jesus clarified the difference between the unbelieving crowd and the believing disciples. While the unbelievers would not be permitted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, Jesus would explain the parables to his disciples.
Psalm 78:2, “I will open my mouth in a parable (H4912): I will utter dark sayings (H2430) of old:”
H2420, properly to tie a knot, that is, (figuratively) to propound a riddle: - put forth.; a puzzle; hence a trick, conundrum, sententious maxim: - dark saying (sentence, speech), hard question, proverb, riddle.
Ezekiel 20:49, “Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?” This was a prophecy against Judah, that it would be destroyed by fire, a type of the coming Babylon invasion. Hundreds of years later, Jesus foretold of the destruction of the Temple. When Jesus said destroy this Temple and I will rebuild it in three days He was referring to the crucifixion and resurrection. A parable not understood even by His disciples
My favorite parable is The Parable of the Sower, good insight as we witness to others.
Matthew 13:4, “And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:” This is the “The hard beaten path, where no plough had broken up the ground.” Seemingly no chance as there is no interest or any understanding.
Matthew 13:5-5, “5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6, And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.” Here there is a thin layer of earth and mostly stones. This would allow for little ploughing an no place for the root to spread.
Matthew 13:7, “And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:” Perhaps the earth was somewhat broken up but was not cleared of brambles and thorns.
Matthew 13:8, “But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” Here the earth is deep and well ploughed so the roots (Word) could take hold.  The thorns (Flesh) were removed so the roots were not choked off.
CM provided a very pithy summary of the Four Soils:
• Wayside without understanding; birds steal the seed away.
• Stony places without root; fail under pressure.
• Among thorns; too entangled in the cares of this world.
• Good ground; hearing and understanding: bear much fruit.
This is my favorite parable as it provides insights into witnessing. I’ve been witnessing to a good friend for several years. Usually my words fall by the wayside. A few times I seen to plough up a little but no real progress. Sadly, she is an example of “The only barrier to truth is the presumption that you already have it.” Still I pray that someday I can pierce that barrier.

Matthew 12:45 529-1 - 8 - 6

Matthew 12:43-44, “43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44, “Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.” 
While it seems that Jesus was speaking to His generation, is He contrasting it with Israel? Is it a summary of the past, present, and future of unbelieving Israel in parable form?
The man is a type the Jewish nation returning from the Babylon captivity, cured of his/ Israel’s idolatry. In the book of Ezra, we read of the temple being finished and dedicated. Ezra 6:19, "And the children of the captivity kept the Passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month." There had been Israelite's who had married foreign (strange wives). In the past, foreign wives were a portal to idolatry, so they were “put aside” in obedience to God.
In the many attempts to rebuild the temple, there were attack made as the walls had been destroyed. Nehemiah was allowed to return to Jerusalem and organize the rebuilding Jerusalem's walls.
From the end of the captivity to the present, the Jewish people have not been idol-worshipers, rather like a house that is empty, swept, and put in order. Sadly, when the Messiah presented himself He was rejected. Although many still hold to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Israel has become increasingly secular.
Matthew 12:45, “Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”
Does “last state” refer to the end days, when an apostate nation/ world will worship the Antichrist? The tribulation follows the end of the church age and is a period in which God works to bring Israel to faith. The nation (house) of Israel will be filled with idolatry and unspeakable evil. Although unbelieving Israel will suffer the judgments of the Great Tribulation, a remnant of Israel will take refuge in Petra during the second half of the tribulation.
Just a sample of the Tribulation during which there will demonic locusts with a king whose named Abaddon.
Revelation 9:2-3, “2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.”
Revelation 9:7-10 provides a horrific image of these demonic locusts. They had hair like women's, lion-like teeth, armor-like iron breastplates, making them impossible to destroy. They will have tails like scorpions, the sting of which will cause five months of unrelieved suffering and death will be impossible.
Lesson learned from Matthew 12:43-45, clear your house of unclean spirits and keep your house (Israel and/ or the individual) free of unclean spirits by the acceptance and protective covering of Jesus.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

John the Baptist, messenger to “prepare the way.” 529-1 - 7 - 8

The last book in the Old Testament is Malachi which ends with a curse, Malachi 4:5-6, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
There were 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testament, years in which God did not speak to the Jewish people. Silent years but years of fulfillment of prophecy.
Daniel 2:1-13 tells of King Nebuchadnezzar having a dream. In Daniel 2:31-35 Daniel recounts the king’s dream, that the king had seen a huge image, the image's head was of fine gold, (Babylon), its chest and arms of silver (Medo-Persia). its belly and thighs of bronze (Greece), its legs of iron (Rome), its feet partly of iron and partly of clay (the final empire). Then “a stone . . . cut out without hands destroyed the image and became a great mountain, filling the whole earth.” The stone is/ will be Jesus.
Daniel 7:2-3, “Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.” The first, the lion represents Babylon. Next the bear representing Medo-Persia. third leopard is a type of Greece. The fourth beast, powerful and “destructive, dreadful, exceedingly strong, with huge iron teeth” would be Rome.
Although Malachi was the final book of the Old Testament, John the Baptist ended the period of the Old Testament.
“In Chronicles chapter 24 we are told how the priestly and Levitical divisions were formed. There were twenty-four households or divisions of priests (vv. 1-19) and twenty-four divisions of Levites (vv. 20-31). Each division was assigned a schedule on a rotating basis to minister in the temple, thus giving everyone the opportunity of serving approximately two weeks each year. Zacharias (Luke 1:5) belonged to the eighth course, the course of Abijah (v. 10).”
[Believer’s Bible Commentary]
An angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias, Luke 1:13, “But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.” John would be the prophet of the Most High, the forerunner of Jesus and was tasked with preparing the way for His coming. This was in fulfillment of Malachi's prediction of a messenger to “prepare the way.”
The approximate time of the birth of Jesus can be calculated from the time that King David organize the 24 courses of priests until the temple duty of Zacharias and his visitation by the Archangel Gabriel.
When Mary visited her cousin, the six-month-old fetus being carried by Elizabeth jumped for joy within the womb. Jesus was born most likely sometime in September which makes sense, Luke 2:8, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Would shepherds be watching their flock by night during winter?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Isaiah Chapter 5 and America today 543 - 3 - 4

Although what Isaiah wrote in chapter 5 through the inspiration of God originally concerned Israel, it has application to America.
Isaiah 5:1-2. “Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: 2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. “
Historically it's as if America had its own original sins, slavery not only of Africans, also the poor who were in bondage and the cruel treatment of the original occupants of the land. In many cases instead of the good harvest God was expecting, the people were disobedience, rebellion, and practiced idolatry.
In Isaiah 5:5 God said what he would take down His hedge of protection from around His vineyard and command the clouds that no rain would fall. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 shattered America’s complacency. Parts of the country have had extreme droughts and in other parts of the country, there's been massive flooding and mudslides.
Isaiah 5-7, God was expecting fair judgment but instead found oppression rather than righteousness. The balance of the chapter deals with “Woe to the Wicked. CM provided a simplified listing of the six woes mentioned in Isaiah 5:
1. Materialism
2. Hedonism
3. Flaunting Sin
4. Denial of the Word of God
5. Relativism
6. Lack of Justice
Black Friday has long been an example of materialism. This has been upstaged by the riots and looting due to covetousness.
Hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure as the highest good and proper aim of human life. Drugs, drunkenness, sexual deviance and more in the name of “Doing my thing.” Millions of unborn babies have been sacrificed on the altar of convenience.
As for flaunting sin, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) community has hijacked God’s rainbow. They are demanding that their deviant lifestyle to be treated as normal. Sadly, the mainstream church is becoming more acceptance of the LGBT agenda rather than following Scripture.
Denial of the Word of God, Atheists work very hard to prove that the God they don’t believe in doesn’t indeed exist. While not directly denying the word of God, many claiming to be Christians do even greater harm through false teachings. Prideful and arrogant had its start in the garden with the question, “Did God really say that?”
Relativism is the doctrine that no ideas or beliefs are universally true but that all are relative, there are no absolute truths, only what is right in his/ her own eyes.
Lack of Justice due not just only to corruption in the judicial area but with those authoring laws. We are slowly learning the extent of the damage done by the last administration and the existence of a deeper shadow government, minions of the one world government agenda.
God speaking through Isaiah summed it up; Isaiah 5:20, “Woe (H1945) unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
Woe, H1945, an interjection meaning alas! It is used in lamenting a person's death, It is used in prophetic announcements of judgment or threats.
[The Complete Word Study Dictionary]

Dr. Stephen Hawking, an eternity loss through works alone? 543 - 3 - 8

I think I was in the eighth grade when I discovered Albert Einstein. Among his very insightful quotes are:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
A few years later in high school I read a book with the title “123 relativity.” I have searched for the book and cannot find any mention of it on the Internet. After 50 plus years, I may have the title wrong. What I do remember is that the special theory of relativity was rather straight forward, the general theory of relativity was more difficult to comprehend, and time is the fourth dimension.
In a least one of his teachings CM compared the four dimensions to Ephesians 3:18. In context, Ephesians 3:17-19, “17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
I believe the expression “To know the mind of God” was coined by Sir Isaac Newton but another fruitless Internet search didn't confirm this. That said, did Einstein get a glimmer of the mind of God?
At the time of his death Einstein was still working on his The Unified Field Theory in which he was attempting to prove that electromagnetism and gravity were different manifestations of a single fundamental field.
With the optimism of a youth I thought someday I would finish his work and solve the unified field theory. Later I found that college level math and physics were far more complicated than in high school. Any thoughts of finishing Einstein's work evaporated in the reality of my limited intellect, limited intellect but still appreciative of great minds.
Now more than half a century later, the passing of another great mind, Stephen Hawking. Decades ago the unified field theory had been replaced by M-theory’. A theory Stephen Hawking hoped would fully explain the universe. I read that to understand the basic idea of M-theory, rather than describing the universe based on point like particles, it could be describe it in terms of tiny oscillating strings (tubes of energy). I’m way out of my league.
Stephen Hawking had a long history in theoretical physics pushing the envelope of knowledge as well as teaching and inspiriting generations of physicists. Although very severely handicapped, Dr. Hopkins never let this impede his work. Work, sadly that says it all.
Stephen Hawking says universe not created by God
"In the new work, The Grand Design, Professor Stephen Hawking argues that the Big Bang, rather than occurring following the intervention of a divine being, was inevitable due to the law of gravity.
In his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, Hawking had seemed to accept the role of God in the creation of the universe. But in the new text, co-written with American physicist Leonard Mlodinow, he said new theories showed a creator is "not necessary"."
I was grieved by Stephen Hawking's atheism not only for him but because I had hope to someday meet both him and Albert Einstein, two brilliant men that I greatly admire. My prayer is that before his last breath, Stephen Hawking cried out to Jesus. Where Stephen Hawking spends eternity is up to God and I pray that he is merciful, and that Stephen Hawkins inherited the glorious body that was his only for the acknowledgement of the creator of the universe, the universe that he so admired. Ephesians 3:19, “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

Saturday, March 10, 2018

God gave America a mulligan

Although there have been judgments in the form of birth pains in America (Matthew 13:7-8), in my opinion, God has given America a mulligan before final judgment.
America has committed a trifecta of sins:
1. Abortion.
2. Acceptance of homosexuality/ Same sex marriage.
3. Throwing Israel under the bus.
In ancient times babies were placed on the red-hot arms of the pagan god Molek. Horrific as this was in the last several decades millions of babies have been destroyed on the altar of convenience. Unborn babies have been dismembered and ripped from their mother’s womb and their parts sold by Planned Parenthood.
Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed not because of the high incidence of homosexuality, rather by the acceptance of it. The LGBT agenda in this country is a minority but very powerful and when pastors quote the Bible they are often accused of hate speech. Christians and pastors let this happen by being fearful of being politically incorrect.
The last several presidents have kicked the can down the street concerning moving our embassy to Jerusalem. Not only that, there has been much bloviating about a two-state solution going back to the 1967 border that would leave Israel nearly defenseless.
God gave us a mulligan with the presidential election of 2016.  I believe that President Trump was voted into office due in large part to the Intercessory Prayers of Christians. In the presidential election of 2012 many Christians would not vote for Mitt Romney because he was a Mormon resulting in the re-election of Obama, lesson learned.
Pray warriors such as Mary Colbert organized prayer groups to pray for the election of presidential candidate Donald Trump. Mary Colbert did more than pray. She organized the blowing of the shofar at nine o’clock in the morning of Election Day, November 8, 2016 by people all over the nation. When the clock struck nine, “the blast was heard all over the airwaves.”
The election of Donald Trump as POTUS has ushered in an administration supportive of Israel. First the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and now the move of our embassy to Jerusalem scheduled to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the state of Israel, May 18.
Several states are beginning to take steps to limit abortion on demand. President Trump has declared that he is more supportive of pastors and Christians speaking the truth. The left has pulled out all stops in their opposition to President Trump. The lines are being drawn.
Again, and in my opinion, we have been granted a Mulligan from a final judgment of America. However, Matthew 12:43-45 warns of getting rid of an unclean spirit, sweeping the house clean but then allowing other unclean spirits back in. We swept the White House clean of the past president and vice president and dodged the bullet of Hillary Clinton. However, we must not let the spirits indicative of the Obama's and Clinton's back into the White House. Plus, there is a lot more cleaning necessary in Congress and throughout the country.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Christians and demonic possession 529-1 - 6 - 6

As an aside, I compare demonic possession to being abducted by what are called aliens and who are, in my opinion, demons from another dimension. There's a theory, one I believe, that Christians can only be abducted if they give consent.
I took a survey in two Bible studies that I attend asking the straight forward question, “Do you think a Christian can be demon possessed? A simple yes or no question about being possessed. Nevertheless, two men stated that there is a difference between being obsessed and possessed. Yes, of course, there is a difference; to be obsessed is to be preoccupied and to be possessed is to be controlled. For a minute I thought we were going to get into a discussion of how many angels can dance on head of a pin. Finally, there was 100% agreement that Christian cannot be possessed unless they invite demons into their life.
A Ouija board can be a gateway by which a demon will possess a person. The late Jane Roberts was using a Ouija board when an entity jumped on it named Seth. Ms. Roberts wrote many best-selling books purchased by many. She wrote entertaining fiction, however, I found that the books she channeled from Seth to be unintelligible.
Mary Magdalene met Jesus, Mark 16:9, “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils (G1140).” After that Mary Magdalene became a follower of Jesus and never again was there any mention of her having demons.
James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils (G1140) also believe, and tremble”
G1140, a demon or super natural spirit (of a bad nature): - devil.; a daemonic being; by extension a deity: - devil, god.
As an aside, even demons believe in the existence of God and fear their eventual punishment/ destination. Matthew 8:29, “And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” The demons asked, “If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.” The demons entered the swine they “ran violently down a steep place into the sea and perished in the waters.” The swine could not be possessed without permission from Jesus. Just as demons cannot possess Christians unless invited in.
Mark 3:28-29, “28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:”
Here Temple leaders committed the unpardonable sin by accusing Jesus of casting out demons by demonic power when it was through the power of the Holy Spirit. They not only rejected Jesus, they referred to the Holy Spirit as a demon. Little sins and not so little sins and all kinds of sins can be forgiven but not the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, this is an eternal sin.
Christians do not become possessed by demons unless they first invite them in. Ouija boards are one of the tools used by demonic forces to enter someone's life. The best cure is prevention. Do not allow the occult into your homes thereby exposing your unbelieving family members to demonic entities.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Angels and demons 529-1- 6 - 4

Most assuredly, there is a difference between angels and demons. Demons are disembodied evil spirits while angels can take on physical bodies.
Demons are disembodied and seek to inhabit an earthly body. There are examples of this and Jesus commanding them to leave their host body. Mark 5:8, “For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.” Jesus allowed the demons to enter a herd of swine. Mark 5:13, “And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.”
Jesus cast out an evil spirit from a man who couldn't speak. To the Jewish leadership, it was impossible to cast out an evil spirit until that spirit had identified itself. The Pharisee did not take kindly to this. Matthew 9:34, “But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.” This led to the discourse by Jesus in Matthew 12 concerning a kingdom divided against itself will not stand. By stating that Jesus worked through the devil, they had committed the unpardonable sin.
Angels are powerful and serve God and can take on the form of a human being as evidenced by the Bible:
Genesis 19, fire and brimstone could not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah until Lot his family were removed from danger by two angels.
Daniel had a vision of the archangel Gabriel, God's messenger, and provided this awesome description of the physicality of an angel of God. Daniel 10:5-6, “Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: 6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.” Gabriel had a message for Daniel but was hampered for 21 days by the Prince of Persia and required the help of the archangel Michael, God's warrior. The Prince of Persia, an agent of Satan, a manifestation of the fallen angels?
Two angels appeared at the empty tomb, Luke 24:3-4, “3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments”
The Rephaim were the descendants of fallen angels, giants, such as Og king of Bashan whose bedstead was nine by four cubits.
Deuteronomy 20:17-18, “But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee: 18 That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.” 
Sadly, the entire land promised to the Israelite's had not been totally conquered and occupied in the time of Joshua, a thorn in the side of Israel to this day.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Living in Christ 543 - 2 - 1

Sunday morning at the Assembly of God Church Pastor Bruce was speaking about a life lived for Christ. As I took a few notes I was reminded of our study of James and this question specifically. Pastor said to get rid of things drawing one towards sin. Don’t compromise. Be set aside. Carnal Christian, an oxymoron. Live according to the spirit. Live in the freedom of a life in Christ.
I agree with Pastor and suspect so would James, that the worldly Christian is an oxymoron. The behavior and attitudes of those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, but still clings to their old ways of living aren’t much different from those of their unbelievers. 1 Corinthians 3:3, “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”
Is this due to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) gospel creeping into the church rather than the clear message of repentance? Revelation 3:15-16, “15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”.
The sanctuary in the Assembly of God church has three columns of chairs. Pastor was talking about this very verse Sunday night at Fellowship Service. His illustration was at the column of chairs to his right were cold, those to the left of him were hot and those in between he referred to as the lukewarm church.
Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Is this where Jesus has been relegated by many claiming to be Christians, ignoring his voice and the tug at their heart?
Study Compares Christian and Non-Christian Lifestyles
"A new Barna Group survey measured the type of lifestyles Americans live. Results showed they live one of sacrifice and of self-indulgence. And the story is not that much different for born-again Christians."
Several times Jesus said be not deceived. As we are winding down in these the last days, good advice. Luke 21:8, “And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.”
Little gods Heresy
Kaycee Watchman published multiple clips of the Word of Faith preachers preaching that Christians are little gods, Jan 8, 2013.
James 1:26, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” Little gods? “This man’s religion is vain.”
By grace we are saved and not works, nevertheless, God will judge our fruit. Those who would mislead their followers with a false message will likely be judged harshly. How harshly will God judge those of weak faith thereby easily deceived?

Saturday, March 3, 2018

James 1:19, very good advice 543 - 2 - 5

James 1:19 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear (G191) slow to speak (G2980), slow to wrath: (G3709)”
Hear, G191, to hear, give an audience, be reported, understand.
For several years, I sold mineral specimens as well as jewelry at markets. One of the things I really enjoyed was children who had an interest in stones. I would spend time going over the various stones with them and most were interested enough to listen. Then there were those children who would ask one question and while I was answering their question would ask another question.
A few years ago, I heard a talk by a former Mormon who has recorded DVDs on how best to witness to Mormons. He mentioned that in college he had a course on listening. To me, really listening and processing what is being said will likely result in critical analysis. Also, it shows respect for what someone else has to say.
Speak, G2980, to talk, to utter words, preach, say, tell, to “lay” forth, that is, relate (in words, usually of systematic or set discourse.
I just had a flashback of my maternal grandmother saying, “Children are to be seen not heard.” She often took care of us kids while my mother worked and could be strict. The older I get the more I appreciate the values this farm woman instilled in me.
 I have a good friend who rarely listens and whatever I might say she will somehow make it about herself. She is usually transmitting rather than receiving. 
I have another very good friend who teaches the two weekly Bible studies I attend. She is a great listener and has helped me work through difficult Bible verses. My goal, to be more like the second friend.
Wrath, G3709, violent passion, ire, or abhorrence, by implication punishment, anger, indignation, vengeance.
Merriam-Webster defines wrath as:
1: strong vengeful anger or indignation
2: retributory punishment for an offense or a crime: divine chastisement
Definitions 1 and 2 sounds like wrath in the flesh except for “divine chastisement”
Google further defines retributory, “of or relating to or having the nature of retribution; "retributive justice demands an eye for an eye" relatiative, retaliatory, retributive, vindicatory. punitive, punitory - inflicting punishment; punitive justice"; punitive damages".
In the next verse James states, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
Although I have known what I would call righteous anger, I strive never to be wrathful. I leave the wrath to our righteous God.
 Isaiah 61:2, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;” 
Isaiah 63:4, “For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.”
Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
It is my sincere prayer to be out of here before God's day of wrath. Meanwhile, I'll do my best to conform to James 1:19.